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Bellanca Aircruiser (Read 13501 times)
Stoneboat
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Bellanca Aircruiser
07/09/12 at 02:14:44
 
The Bellanca Aircruiser - originally called the Airbus, take that Airbus Industrie - first flew in 1930. It was a big 10 - 12 (later 15 pax) aircraft powered by a Wright 1820 radial. See here for more detail:
http://www.bellanca-championclub.com/menander/index.html

My friend Bob Cameron has supplied two vacuform kits of the beastie and I will attempt to create models of two different aircraft, CF-BLT and CF-BKV. BLT was operated by the British Yukon Navigation Company, the Canadian arm of the Yukon & White Pass RR, that operated the sternwheelers on the Yukon River in the 1930's. The other aircraft, BKV, was operated by Mackenzie Air Services around the same time. Both aircraft were based in Whitehorse, YK. BLT will be completed on floats, and BKV on wooden wheel replacement skis.

As Popeye might say "It's a monsker!"
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And a rare colour shot:
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The kits are the 1:72 vacuform offerings from Execuform, of Cedar Glen, CA. I have never built a vac kit in my life, but one can't stay a virgin forever. When I opened the boxes, I was confronted with these... well let's be honest here, this looks like blobs to the uninitiated like me.
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Fortunately I have a weapon in my arsenal, 1:72 side view drawings of the airplanes in question.
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I have no idea whether they are excellent, good or poor kits, but the dimensions are spot on and the plastic is soft enough to cut easily with a #11 blade, but stiff enough that it could probably be glued together without the use of internal stiffeners. That makes 'em ok in my book. So awwwwwaaayyy we go!!

I have heard that building a vac kit requires a prodigious amount of sandpaper mounted on a level surface. That being said, I acquired a dozen sheets of 120 grit Siarexx sandpaper and....
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..Since one must start somewhere, I began with the lift struts. Calling them lift struts is a bit of a stretch. The lower portions are the same chord and thickness as the wings, so this airplane could concievely be called a sesquiplane. I cut away all eight pieces - two pieces per strut, two struts per aircraft - from the backing sheets, then began a marathon of sanding. Sand a bit, dry fit - sand a bit, dry fit, and then do it all over again until some semblance of a match is obtained.
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Whoops!! Got a problem with Photobucket. I'll post this and be back shortly if I can resolve it.

I did say semblance of a match. That seam is nothing a little Bondo can't take care of.  Smiley
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Since these struts will support both the gear and the wings, I gave it a little internal stiffening. I cut a bit of 1/16" basswood for spars, and some 3/16" basswood to support the main gear mountings and end caps to attach the struts to the fuselage.
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The main gear mounting posts will be two short lengths of 18ga aluminum wire, glued into the wooden block you see there at the 'elbow'. The struts themselves will be attached to the fuselage by two more of those 22ga aluminum pins.
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Four of them, all the same. (A stroke of luck!)
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« Last Edit: 07/15/12 at 05:17:14 by Stoneboat »  
 
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Rob Hart
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #1 - 07/09/12 at 02:48:22
 
You are well on your way. Fifteen passengers for a single 1820 engined aircraft sounds kind of marginal.
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Swanny
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #2 - 07/09/12 at 02:55:24
 
I've always thought that was a cool aircraft, wish there were a 1/48 kit around.
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John E
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #3 - 07/09/12 at 05:16:51
 
The unkind name for Execuform is Execublob, but they are at least a starting point and the drawings are usually pretty good.  This one will be fun, and it will not be small in 1/72.  Always an interesting airplane.
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SLN
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #4 - 07/09/12 at 10:56:59
 
I will be following this closely. I love those Bellanca designs and thoroughly botched my attempt to turn the Execuform kit into a model. Now I will learn what I did wrong.
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chukw
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #5 - 07/09/12 at 17:01:43
 
Whoo-hoo!   Smiley
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Paul W
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #6 - 07/09/12 at 17:43:41
 
Can change your name to "Clutch Cargo" now
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[img][URL=http://s1237.photobucket.com/user/Paul6187/media/222592_200712286631572_6312594_n_zps5493cb8e.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff479/Paul6187/th_222592_200712286631572_63125
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #7 - 07/10/12 at 04:00:19
 
We are at the beginning of a great show!
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I've built my first model when I was 5-yr old and I hope to build my last when I'm 105-yr old!
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Paul W
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #8 - 07/10/12 at 04:27:04
 
I love this plane since I used to watch Clutch Cargo back in the '60s. cant wait.
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[img][URL=http://s1237.photobucket.com/user/Paul6187/media/222592_200712286631572_6312594_n_zps5493cb8e.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff479/Paul6187/th_222592_200712286631572_63125
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Stoneboat
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #9 - 07/10/12 at 04:48:20
 
Yeah guys, this will be a bit of a challenge. The engineering department will be in for a lot of overtime. Cold beverages for all!

SLN if you're interested in Bellancas, Khee-Kha Products make both the Pacemaker and the Skyrocket.
http://www.mtaonline.net/~zdk/

Let the modifications begin to commence! The kit tail comes with a mighty rudder horn that extends above the top of the stab. This must be standard for the early military version, since it bears no resemblance to the two I'm attempting.
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So cut away the leading edge of the vertical stab and insert a piece of 1/8" basswood, cleverly cut to the required shape...
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...Then glue it in place.
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The trailing edge of the rudder has excessive forward rake. I cut off a bit and used more basswood to fashion a more correct profile.
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Some judicious use of a sanding stick and Bondo later... Viola! tail on a wire.
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On to the blobs..err...cowlings. This is what they look like on the sheet, and I'll admit it took awhile before I realized what I was looking at.
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I cut the halves off the sheet then separated them into two more halves, then rough sanded the mating surfaces until they matched.
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I glued the halves together...
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...Into a nice oval shape.  Grin
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The front opening needs work, wot? Actually I thought the glue joint was pretty flimsy, so I glued two strips of .010x.040 strip styrene on the interior to stiffen things up.
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Then I went to work with the sandpaper and Bondo. I have an alignment punch that tapers from 1/8 to 9/16" diameter. I wrapped a piece of 180-grit sandpaper around the taper, then very gently sanded the front opening from oval to round. Now it was looking pretty good. When I got the front shaped to my satisfaction I glued a circle of styrene from the backing sheet to the rear of the cowling, and when the glue was dry I cut away the outside and inside excess plastic. This left a ring around the trailing edge of the cowling. Stiffened things right up,solid as a house.
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And here's the engine, dry fitted snug as a bug. The engine, by the way, is the 1:72 Wright R1820 from Engines & Things.
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At the moment I'm attempting to replicate the ribs on the vertical stab/rudder combination. I used the same technique as Old Man with that great Hawk he built. I will be generous with myself and say the first attempt was less than satisfactory. The second try is - knock on wood, going well. Pics will be forthcoming on a later post.
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sharkman
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #10 - 07/10/12 at 05:09:12
 
Very cool build! Those aircruisers were big suckers weren't they?

Your pics make it look so easy Stoney! I know there's hours of hard work are behind each one though!
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Warren
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Stoneboat
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #11 - 07/10/12 at 05:55:19
 
Thanks sharkey. The interiors should be fun.  Shocked

BTW, send me your e-mail and street address again for that PBY stuff. My HD fried last week and I lost all my stored data.
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sharkman
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #12 - 07/10/12 at 15:46:18
 
Stoneboat wrote on 07/10/12 at 05:55:19:
Thanks sharkey. The interiors should be fun.  Shocked

BTW, send me your e-mail and street address again for that PBY stuff. My HD fried last week and I lost all my stored data.



will do! Were you able to recover any of your data?
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Warren
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killsnapz
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #13 - 07/10/12 at 20:29:56
 
I love seeing subjects that you almost never see getting built but at some point I am only willing to torture myself so much! I guess it depends on how bad you really want a model of that subject.
Me personally I do not even consider those vac formed offering kits. Still it looks like with a poop load of work on your part you might have something there in the end. Smiley
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Stoneboat
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Re: Bellanca Aircruiser
Reply #14 - 07/15/12 at 05:14:34
 
I had applied the ribs to the vertical stab and rudder using .010 x .010 styrene strips. The first attempt was less than satisfactory, in fact it was downright ugly...
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...So I sanded the suckers off and began all over, with better results.
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I cut away the rudder, glued a length of basswood along the front as a leading edge and added the trim tab.
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A few swipes between the ribs with a piece of sandpaper rolled around a rat tail file and it's a presentable stab/rudder combination.
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Next I cut away the horizontal stab assembly from the backing sheet, and trimmed off the excess around the edges.
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I used two blobs of Blu-Tac to hold the suckers while I sanded off the rest of the excess plastic...
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...Then once I had both halves ground own to the proper thickness I glued a length of 1/16" basswood in place as a rear spar. The elevator hinge line will run along that spar, about half way across the chord.
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The stab glued together nice and solid...
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...A bit o' primer and there it is, stab on a wire.
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I applied the ribs - on the top surface only I hasten to add, at intervals of just under 1/8" using the aforementioned .010 x .010 styrene. The interval is what the instructions call for, which gives about one scale foot between ribs.
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More sanding between the ribs with the rat tail, and some very judicious use of a sanding stick at the leading and trailing edges of the stab to feather the ribs down to nothing, and I'm satisfied with the result. I also added a strip of .020 x .020 styrene on the trailing edge of the elevators, and faired it in with a bit of Bondo. It makes a nice crisp  trailing edge.
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Comes the separation. I cut the elevators away from the stab so that a portion of my previously attached spar remained in each part.
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I then glued a length of 1/16" basswood to the front of the elevators...
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...And sanded it to a pleasing shape as the leading edge.
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I used a couple of doubles of 120 grit sandpaper to create a concave shape in the stabilizer spar that will accept the leading edge of the elevators.

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And there they are, complete with trim tab.
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I have no idea if the elevator trim tab is on the right elevator on this airplane but it is on the Norseman, and Bob Noorduyn Sr. once worked for Guiseppe Bellanca. That's close enough for me.  Grin

Quote:
Still it looks like with a poop load of work on your part you might have something there in the end.

We'll see.
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